Sharjah, the third-largest emirate in the UAE, hosts the region’s most rapidly growing free zones. The landscape of business setup in Sharjah free zones is ideal for all sizes of businesses including SMEs, startups, individual entrepreneurs and MNCs. Free zone company formation in Sharjah offers direct access to benefits such as world-class infrastructure, excellent connectivity to major trading hubs, a tax-free business environment, low rental schemes, and cost-effective business setup packages.
Sharjah is an industrial powerhouse but the free zones in the emirate offer a diverse range of business activities apart from manufacturing and logistics activities. Media, entertainment, consultancy services, e-commerce and a wide range of other lucrative activities can be carried out in Sharjah free zones. Setting up a company in Sharjah free zones is fairly easy and flexible. Yet, the services of business setup consultants in Sharjah can help foreign investors to speed up the license approval process. Read ahead to know further about company formation in Sharjah free zones:
Types of Licenses Permitted by Sharjah Free Zones
Foreign investors first need to select a free zone to start the procedure of business setup in Sharjah. Once a suitable free one is located, they must decide on the business activities. Each free zone permits unique licenses representing some of the most lucrative business activities in the UAE. Entrepreneurs availing of business setup services in Sharjah may find it easier to choose a trade license. Here is a list of some of the most common business licenses permitted by free don’t in Sharjah:
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A Sharjah free zone trading license permits the license holder to import, export, sell, distribute, and store goods stated on the business license. All free zones in Sharjah offer a trading license for foreign investors. Business set up consultants in UAE can help investors quickly obtain a trading license.
General Trading License
A general trading license is a type of commercial license offered by most of the Sharjah free zones. It allows the license holders to trade in an unlimited number of goods. Unlike a normal trading license, a general trading license authorises the trading of goods that are not similar. Company setup advisers in Sharjah can shed light on the cost and other details of a Sharjah free zone general trading license.
An e-commerce license offered by Sharjah free zone is a unique type of trading license. A Sharjah free zone e-commerce license authorises business owners to trade goods or services over an electronic platform. E-commerce license is one of the most sought-after licenses in the UAE owing to the rise of e-commerce as a sunrise sector in the region.
A service license is one of the most commonly available trade licenses in Sharjah free zones. The license permits the holder to carry out professional services activities. Most popular professional activities include consultancies, accounting services etc. Companies providing business setup services in Sharjah can simplify the process of obtaining a service license.
A Sharjah free zone industrial license permits the holders to import raw materials to manufacture, process and/or assemble goods specified in the license. It also allows the packaging and export of the finished products. Free zones such as Hamriyah free zone issues an industrial license for foreign investors. Obtaining an industrial license may involve special approvals for which business setup consultants in Sharjah can offer their advice.
Types of Legal Structures in Sharjah Free Zones
A legal structure or legal form should be determined to set up a company in Sharjah free zones. A legal form represents the legal status of the company, which can be determined based on the number of shareholders. Free zones across Sharjah recognises the following types of legal entities:
Free Zone Establishment
A Free Zone Establishment (FZE) can be incorporated with a single shareholder. The shareholder can be either an individual (natural person) or a corporate entity (juridical person). An FZE has a distinct legal identity and independent financial liability. Seeking advice from business setup advisers in Sharjah is recommended to determine the right legal form for a proposed company.
Free Zone Company
A Free Zone Company (FZC) is a Limited Liability Company (LLC) owned by more than one shareholder. An FZC has a distinct legal identity and independent financial liability. An FZC is one of the most popular legal entities in the UAE due to the limited liability it offers. Foreign investors can consult with company formation consultants in Sharjah to know the cost and capital requirements for forming an FZC.
Foreign companies and companies incorporated within the UAE can open their branch offices within any of the Sharjah free zones. A branch office doesn’t have an independent identity and its legal status is dependent upon its parent entity. Branch offices are required to conduct all or some of the activities performed by the parent company.
Process of Business Setup in Sharjah Free Zones
The process of company registration in Sharjah free zones involves simple and flexible steps. Preparing a robust business plan is essential for making the incorporating process smooth, for which investors need to research the licenses, facilities, regulations and other features of the free zones. Entrepreneurs need not worry about the research part as the company registration advisers in Sharjah can do that on their behalf. The process of company incorporation can be completed in the following steps:
- Select a business activity
- Determine an appropriate legal form
- Reserve a name for the company
- Choose a facility/office space
- Receive the trade license
- Apply for a visa
- Open a corporate bank account
Benefits of Business Setup in Sharjah Free Zones
Free zone company formation in Sharjah offers a wide range of benefits for foreign investors. The primary advantage is their strategic location in Sharjah, which offers cost-effective solutions for leasing warehouses or offices and renting residential buildings. Following are some of the benefits of company formation in Sharjah free zones:
- 100% foreign ownership
- Zero corporate tax and personal income tax
- Exemption from customs duties
- 100% repatriation of profits & capital
- Quick & easy incorporation
- World-class facilities
- One-stop solution for all services
- Proximity to airport & seaport
- Excellent connectivity through land, sea and air
Compliance Requirements in Sharjah Free Zones
Companies operating in Sharjah free zones are required to comply with regulatory requirements such as Ultimate Beneficial Ownership (UBO), Economic Substance Regulations (ESR) and Anti-Money Laundering and Combatting Financing of Terrorism (AML-CFT). Failing to comply with the regulations will lead to hefty administrative penalties. If the level of non-compliance is severe, violators can expect punishments such as suspension of trade license and exchanging information with foreign competent authorities. Most importantly, the regulatory obligations and punishments also apply to entities undergoing company liquidation in Sharjah free zones. It is advisable to seek assistance from business setup consultants in Sharjah to ensure compliance and to avoid reputation damage and penalties.
List of Free Zones Operating in Sharjah
Free zones in Sharjah make a significant contribution to the economy of the UAE. The progressive policies implemented by respective free zone authorities have made the emirate a powerful magnet for foreign investors. Foreign investors see attracted to the environment business setup in Sharjah free zones on account of their strategic location and unique licenses among other reasons. Business set up consultants in Sharjah can help foreign investors to choose a free zone suited for their investment plans. Stated below is a list of active free zones in Sharjah:
Choose the Best Business Setup Services in Sharjah, UAE
The process of business setup in Sharjah free zones offers unparalleled advantages such as immense profitability, tax exemptions, state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class facilities etc. Business setup consultants in Sharjah such as Jitendra Business Consultants (JBC) can help investors to leverage these benefits without any hassle. JBC is one of the leading providers of the best business setup services in Sharjah and across the UAE.
Our team has sufficient resources to manage the requirements of entrepreneurs including determining a corporate structure, drafting legal documents, processing visas, opening bank accounts etc. JBC also provides regulatory compliance services related to ESR, UBO, and AML-CFT. Our highly qualified business setup experts can help foreign investors enjoy their business setup process without worrying about the bureaucratic red tape and legal formalities.